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Fans, players sad to see DC United's Fred say goodbye

WASHINGTON — With mounting injury problems extending his stay in DC by one game, Brazilian midfielder Fred played his final game in a D.C. United uniform in Wednesday’s 1-0 loss against the New England Revolution.

Last weekend’s draw in Dallas was supposed to be his final game before leaving for a second playing stint in Australia, but DC requested to keep Fred another game, giving him one more chance to play at RFK Stadium.

His presence will be sorely missed as he heads off to a new challenge.

“He’s one of the guys that I’ve really enjoyed being around here in the locker room,” midfielder Chris Pontius said after the game. “He’s a guy who’s done a lot in his career.”

Players, coaches and members of DC’s technical staff were saying their goodbyes after the game, adding another reason to be a bit downcast after losing to a struggling Revolution side.

Fred enjoyed the small tribute United fans provided for him, as he was given a nice ovation when he entered as a second-half substitute in the game’s 63rd minute. A couple of signs also hung from the Barra Brava wishing him good luck.

“That was very good,” he said. “I didn’t know they loved me like that — I was very happy.”

Fred rejoined D.C. United during the offseason after he spent last season with the Philadelphia Union. He spent most of this season as a reserve, and when a better offer arrived from the A-League's Melbourne Heart, DC agreed to let him out of his contract.

None of his teammates, however, wanted to see him leave.

“I wish he could still be around, but he had a better opportunity in Australia to go and do his thing, and you’ve got to support him in that,” Pontius said. “I hope I come across him in my career at some point again.”

With his technical ability and creativity, Fred’s role as a sub gave DC someone who provided a bit of a different look coming off the bench. But it will be perhaps his locker-room demeanor and experience that the team may end up missing the most.

“He’s been around different leagues and he’s been playing for a long time — a very good player, definitely makes us better whether he’s playing or not playing,” Clyde Simms told MLSsoccer.com. “We’re definitely going to miss him.”

Travis Clark covers D.C. United, College and Youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @travismclark.